POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River volleyball team celebrated Sophomore Night in style Friday, sweeping Judson College 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-13).
While Friday was the first time the two teams have played this season, the Wildcats and Eagles are pretty familiar with one another. The two programs played three times in 2019, with PRCC coming away with three sweeps.
"It was a great night to be able to highlight our sophomores," Pearl River coach Haley Chatham said. "They have so much fun playing together and we are so happy they were able to do that in our last home match of the season."
Prior to the match, the Wildcats honored their sophomore class: Leah Draine (Mobile, Ala.; Mattie T. Blount), Harleigh LaFontaine (Kiln; Hancock), Logan Parker (Clinton), Amy Wright (Palm Bay, Fla.; Melbourne Central Catholic), Diamond Jones (Gonzales, La.; East Ascension) and Kyleigh Richardson (Fruitdale, Ala.)
"Our sophomores are a great group," Chatham said. "Several of them were part of our inaugural season and some have transferred to us since; all of them have had a hand in shaping our program thus far and I am so thankful for that."
The Wildcats (9-7 overall) left little doubt who would come out on top, starting with the opening serve. PRCC jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first set on a Jones Kill. PRCC pushed its lead to 12-2 and Chloe Paske (Ocean Springs; St. Martin) extended PRCC's lead to 14-3 with a slam off of a bad JC service reception. Judson College made a short run late but the Wildcats closed out strong, winning 25-12.
Jones started the scoring for a second straight set. Judson College hung around longer in the Set 2, clinging to a 6-5 deficit until PRCC ran off four straight. The run included a Leighton Willoughby (Brandon; Northwest Rankin) kill off of an Avery Beth Durdin (Olive Branch; Lewisburg) quick set.
To the Eagles' credit, they hung around until PRCC reeled off seven straight to surge ahead 22-13. The final two points of the run came courtesy of Willoughby on a kill followed by a block. The two sides traded the final couple of points before the Wildcats closed out the 25-16 victory.
Pearl River turned in another dominant start in the third set, jumping out to a 7-1 lead. A Draine slam pushed PRCC's lead to 8-2. Tori Havens (Lucedale; George County) contributed two kills during a 5-0 run that extended PRCC's lead to 14-3. It wasn't long before PRCC's lead grew to 20-6.
After Judson College picked off three straight points, the Wildcats put together another 3-0 run of their own and ultimately closed out the 25-13 victory when Richardson put down a ball that an Eagles defender couldn't handle.
PRCC is back in action Tuesday at Bevill State. Opening serve is set for 4 p.m. The game can be watched at PRCCMedia.com/gold.